16 Jan 2020

Among all the security features available today, two-factor authentication (2FA) is by far one of the most important, and apparently, Google is aware of that!  In their most recent iOS “Smart Lock” app update, they included a feature that will allow you to use your iPhone as a physical 2FA device.  After you set it up in Chrome, when someone attempts to log onto your account using a nearby device, Google will send you push notification on your iPhone via Bluetooth (if it’s close enough), notifying you of the attempted login.  All you have to do is unlock your phone and accept or decline.

Pretty convenient!

This feature has been available to Android users now for a while, but this new update now makes it available to most smartphone users.

This 2FA function is fairly similar to their “Google Prompt” function, the biggest difference being the Bluetooth connectivity in “Smart Lock” versus WiFi connectivity in “Google Prompt.”  With Bluetooth, your phone has to be close by in order for your account to be unlocked, which makes it just that much safer.  That being said, Smart Lock isn’t linked to fingerprint unlock or facial recognition, so if the hacker is nearby, it is POSSIBLE for them to access your account if your phone is unlocked, but that isn’t very likely to occur if you are paying attention.  Another hitch is that it only works when logging into an account on Chrome, but that just means you have to use a different type of 2FA.

On the bright side, not only is it convenient, but Smart Lock can also be used in tandem with Google’s strongest defense against phishing attacks, “Advanced Protection Program,” meaning your smartphone will be extremely secure against potential threats.

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